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XI. BANKING, FINANCE, AND BUSINESS ORGANIZATION, 1520 - 1750. A. Financial Innovations in England and the Low Countries: Negotiability in Private and Public Finance revised again: 14-15 March 2012. Problems of Negotiability - 1.

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xi banking finance and business organization 1520 1750


A. Financial Innovations in England and the Low Countries: Negotiability in Private and Public Finance

revised again: 14-15 March 2012

problems of negotiability 1
Problems of Negotiability - 1
  • 1) Negotiability and the 16th century ‘Financial Revolution’:to resolve negotiability problem
  • – to make credit instruments full-fledged money
  •  constituted a ‘Financial Revolution’ that played a major role in the Price Revolution, from the 1520s:
  • 2) Medieval financial bills were non-negotiable:
  • - NOT convertible into cash or goods on demand
problems of negotiability 2
Problems of Negotiability - 2
  • 3) Nature of medieval bills: bills of exchange, bills obligatory, promissory notes, etc.
  • a) always held to maturity: to stipulated redemption date (‘maturity’) before being redeemed, cashed
  • - thus could not be sold, converted into cash or goods, before maturity, and thus could not be discounted
  • b) monetary function: increased the income velocity of money, but not the supply of money
  • c) bills of exchange (acceptance bills) and bills obligatory (promissory notes):
  • - effected payments abroad using local currency where the bills were redeemed, without having to transport precious metals between cities and countries.
problem of negotiability 3
Problem of Negotiability - 3
  • 4) Reasons why medieval bills were not negotiable: before stipulated maturity date
  • a) Discounting and Usury Problem
  • - to make a bill negotiable, to be able to sell or cash bill before maturity, meant selling it at discount: nobody would pay full maturity value before its redemption
  • - discounted pre-maturity value: the reduced amount reflects the interest owing until actual maturity: see the handout
  • - therefore: discounting was an admission of the implicit interest value violation of the usury ban
problem of negotiability 4
Problem of Negotiability - 4
  • 4) Why medieval bills were not negotiable:
  • b) lack of LEGAL protection for third parties who bought a bill before maturity:
  • - because most bills stipulated not just the redemption (maturity) date, but also the payee: the person to whom the payment was owing-
  • - even bills ‘payable to bearer’ did not give the bearer legal claims
  • - while many merchants, as creditors, did assign their bills to others to whom they owed payment, those transfers had no legal standing.
problem of negotiability 5
Problem of Negotiability - 5
  • 5) Requirements for legal negotiability: Law Merchant courts
  • a) law merchant courts: commercial courts in many countries that used accepted codes of international commerce to settle disputes
  • b) England: royal gov’t pioneered official use of law merchant courts:
  • - i)1285: Edward I set up law merchant court: in London composed of foreign merchants to adjudicate their own commercial disputes in England.
problem of negotiability 6
Problem of Negotiability - 6
  • b) English Law Merchant Courts: Edward I and Edward III
  • ii)1303: Edward I’s Carta Mercatoria(with Hanseatic League):
  • - that all merchants were to receive ‘speedy justice’ by Law Merchant courts
  • - half of whose juries were to be the foreign merchants involved
  • - iii)1353: Edward III’s Statute of the Staples  greater powers
problem of negotiability 7
Problem of Negotiability - 7
  • c) Staple courts set up in 15 English towns to use Law Merchant (by Statute of the Staples 1353)
  • - each court headed by the town’s mayor, with two constables, and a jury with foreign and domestic merchants (either or both- depending on the case)
  • - all disputes to be settled by Law Merchant (lei marchant), not common law
  • - Staple Mayors & constables: empowered to seize goods of defaulting debtors
establishment of negotiability 1
Establishment of Negotiability - 1
  • 1)Establishment of Legal Negotiability: England
  • a) London Mayor’s Law-Merchant Court of 1436:‘Burton vs. Davy’
  • - The court ruled in favour of a merchant, who, in presenting a bill of exchange (drawn in Bruges on London): transferred to him with a bearer clause
  • had been refused payment by the official acceptor:payer
  • b) court ruled that the bearer had the same full rights as the designated payee: to sue for payment – ordered the acceptor/payer to make full payment, and cover all court costs, ‘according to the Law Merchant’.
establishment of negotiability 2
Establishment of Negotiability - 2
  • 2)Establishment of Legal Negotiability: Low Countries
  • a) Antwerp Law Merchant Court of 1506:
  • - rendered exactly same decision (using Burton vs. Davy as precedent?)
  • - dispute involved merchants in English cloth trade at Antwerp
  • b)Bruges Law Merchant Court: 1527: same ruling
  • c) Estates-General (Parliament) of Habsburg Netherlands: 1537-41:
  • - enacted into national law provisions guaranteeing full rights of negotiability to third parties: who presented commercial bills for redemption, with powers to sue the original debtor (with same rights as designated payee).
discounting usury laws 1
Discounting & Usury Laws - 1
  • 1) Discounting: the final, necessary step for negotiability:
  • - earliest known example: also at Antwerp, 1536 – but not yet legal, because usury ban still in force: i.e., discounting  admission of interest
  • 2) Legalization of Interest: to permit discounting
  • a) Habsburg Netherlands: Imperial Ordinance of Emperor Charles V (and Estates): 4 October 1540 :
  • - legalized interest payments on commercial loans up to 12%
  • - so that usury now meant any interest in excess of the 12% limit
discounting usury laws 2
Discounting & Usury Laws - 2
  • 2) Legalization of Interest: to permit discounting
  • b) England and Usury Laws: a peculiar case
  • i) 1545: Henry VIII’s Parliament legalized interest payments up to 10%: all rates above that declared to be ‘usury’
  • ii) 1552: Protestant gov’t for Edward VI (successor) repealed statute
  • iii) 1571: Elizabeth I’s Parliament reinstated Henry VIII’s statute: again: to make interest legal, but only up to 10%
discounting usury laws 3
Discounting & Usury Laws - 3
  • c) England’s legal maximum subsequently reduced:
  • - 1624: to 8%
  • - 1651- to 6% (by Cromwell’s Parliament: validated by Restoration Parliament: 1660-61
  • - 1713: to 5%:
  • - 1854: usury laws fully revoked
  • d) Catholic countries: usury laws remained in force until French Revolution (1789)
endorsement of commercial bills
Endorsement of Commercial Bills
  • 1) Endorsement:
  • a) endorsement: writing one’s name on the back of a bill (cheque), to sign away one’s claim as a creditor to payment:
  • - in effect assigning payment to the bearer of the bill.
  • b) acknowledging responsibility for payment in case of default by the original debtor-issuer
  • - obviously mandatory if designate payee’s name is specified; but additional guarantee for bearer bills
  • - became all the more necessary as volume of commercial-financial transactions grew beyond community of merchants who knew each other: endorsement a substitute for personal recognition
  • 2 ) Discounting by endorsement:spread in Low Countries in later 16th century, and then into England, during the 17th-century
importance of bills of exchange acceptances 1
Importance of Bills of Exchange – Acceptances - 1
  • 1) Acceptance Bills: came to be the usual term for bills of exchange, from 17th century
  • a) crucial person in a four-party bill: the ‘acceptor’ on whom the bill is drawn (by the ‘taker’ or prenditore): also known as the ‘drawee’ &‘payer’.
  • b) his signature is required to validate payment – his signed obligation to pay or redeem the bill in full on stated date of maturity
  • 2) Acceptance Bills: chief means of financing international trade, cementing the historic close ties between commerce & banking
importance of bills of exchange acceptances 2
Importance of Bills of Exchange – Acceptances - 2
  • 3) Foreign Trade:
  • a) offered quickest and most elastic means of generating large profits for investment as capital in trade and industry
  • b) nature of foreign trade: discrete,separate transactions
  • c) merchants, not wishing to have profits lie idle, invested them in another merchant’s trade, by ‘buying’ his acceptance bill
  • d) acceptance bills: both lubricant and fuel for international trade
  • 4) Importance as a mechanism for transferring and effecting paymentsbetween countries,
  • - without having to ship specie & bullion abroad: dangerous.
negotiable public debt rentes 1
Negotiable Public Debt: Rentes -1
  • 1) Medieval background (November: lecture 9):rentes, census, censals, juros
  • a) Mediterranean agriculture: 13th century:
  • Italy, France, Aragon (Spain)
  • - a) merchant supplies peasant farmer (non-communal) with capital: buys a census contract for (say) 50 florins, to receive a life-time or perpetual income of 5 florins a year (i.e., 10% return on investment)
  • - also called a rente: purchasing some of rental income on the land
  • - investor could never demand repayment from the seller of census
negotiable public debt rentes 2
Negotiable Public Debt: Rentes -2
  • b) Northern French & Flemish urban finances:also 13th century
  • - rente contracts adopted from 1220s,
  • - during intense anti-usury campaigns: to permit urban gov’ts to raise funds without having to borrow at interest, and thus violate usury ban: for both lender & borrower
  • - investor: purchased a rente contract for a fixed sum (e.g., £100): to receive a life-time or perpetual annual income stream
  • - but the investor could never demand repayment of his capital, though the issuing seller -- town gov’t -- could redeem, at par, the rentes whenever it wished to do so (when it proved most advantageous, with lower rates)
negotiable public debt rentes 3
Negotiable Public Debt: Rentes - 3
  • 1) Medieval background: continued

c) Reaction of the Church: concerning usury

  • -i) From Pope Innocent IV (c. 1250): that rente contracts were not usurious, because it was not a mutuum loan
  • ii) debate not resolved until 15th century: with Council of Constance (1416-18) +
  • three Papal bulls: Martin V (1425), Nicholas II (1452), Calixtus III (1455)
negotiable public debt rentes 4
Negotiable Public Debt: Rentes - 4
  • c) Church reaction to rentes: cont’d
  • iii) rentes were licit on three conditions:
  • (1) that investors never demand any repayment
  • (2) that any redemptions be made at the sole discretion of the seller: but always at par value (nominal, not real values)
  • (3) that annual payments (annuities): come from income derived from the fruits of landed property: i.e., to resemble land-rent contracts
negotiable public debt rentes 5
Negotiable Public Debt: Rentes - 5
  • iv) Church agreed that income from excise taxes: levied on the consumption of foodstuffs, textiles, etc. met this test
  • - excise taxes on wine, beer, grains, meats, clothing, etc. came to be the principal method by which gov’ts financed rentes
  • - most regressive form of taxation hurting lower income strata
negotiable public debt rentes 6
Negotiable Public Debt: Rentes - 6
  • 2) Rentes & Public Finance: in 16th century
  • a) rentes:almost universal form of public finance: in Western Europe by 16th century: Low Countries, France, Spain, most German states
  • b) two types of government rentes:
  • i) life-rents (rentes viagères, lijfrenten):
  • ii) perpetual, inheritable rents (rentes héritables, losrenten): far easier to assign and transfer  became far more negotiable
negotiable public debt rentes 7
Negotiable Public Debt: Rentes - 7
  • c) Typical rates of return on rentes
  • i) life-rents: always double cost of perpetual rents,with long-term downward trends
  • - 14th & 15th centuries: 1/7 = 14.29%
  • - 16th century: 1/8 = 12.50%
  • ii) perpetual, inheritable rents:
  • - 14th & 15th centuries: 1/14 = 7.145%
  • - 16th century: 1/16 = 6.25%
negotiable public debt rentes 8
Negotiable Public Debt: Rentes - 8
  • d) Advantages of rentes for governments:
  • i) annuity payments (‘interest’) always far lower than on voluntary loans: whose rates were often as high as 25%
  • - France, 1631-57: mean interest rate of 25.88% on voluntary loans
  • - no social opprobrium with rentes (as with usurious loans): see Lawrence Stone (next slide)
  • - far lower risk of government default
  • ii) No redemption requirements, as with loans: at sole discretion of government, when deemed best (when interest rates became lower)
the costs of the usury doctrine high interest rates
The costs of the usury doctrine: high interest rates
  • Lawrence Stone, The Crisis of the Aristocracy, 1558-1641 (Oxford, 1965): on Elizabethan & Stuart England
  • Money will never become freely or cheaply available in a society which nourishes a strong moral prejudice against the taking of any interest at all – as distinct from objections to the taking of extortionate interest.
  • If usury on any terms, however reasonable, is thought to be a discreditable business, men will tend to shun it, and the few who practise it will demand a high return for being generally regarded as moral lepers.
  • [Also: risks of prosecution or defaulting debtors]
negotiable public debt rentes 9
Negotiable Public Debt: Rentes - 9
  • e) Interest rates after revision of Usury Laws:
  • (i) Low Countries: before and after 1540 ordinance (Charles V: on usury)
  • -Flanders: fell from 21% in 1511-15 to 11% in 1566-70
  • - Antwerp: fell from 20% in 1511 to 10% in 1550
  • (i) England: before and after 1571 usury statute
  • - in 1560s: average interest rate: 30%
  • - in 1570s: average interest rate: 20%
  • - in 1600: average interest rate: 10%
negotiable public debt rentes 930
Negotiable Public Debt: Rentes - 9
  • 3) Antwerp & Netherlands in 16th century:
  • a) 1531: Antwerp set up its Bourse (Beurs):
  • - most important secondary market for rentes: ancestor of stock markets
  • b) became Europe’s leading financial market:
  • - based on part on international market for rentes and related annuity contract
  • c) need for negotiability and secondary markets: if investors were unable to demand repayments of their rentes, their only option was to sell their rente contracts to a third party (in such markets).
negotiable public debt rentes 10
Negotiable Public Debt: Rentes 10
  • b) Major role of South German banking houses: Fuggers, Welsers, Höchstetters, Imhofs, Tuchers, Herwarts
  • c) Role of Habsburg Spain: Charles V’s issue of juros:perpetual, inheritable, and negotiable (though redeemable) annuities:
  • - by 1600: aggregate issues had risen from 5 million to 83 million ducats (silver based money of account: 375 maravedis per ducat)
  • - 1557: Philip II had reneged on his short-term borrowing from the South German bankers, converting them all into 5% juros benefited Genoese bankers
negotiable public debt rentes 11
Negotiable Public Debt: Rentes 11
  • 4) International Importance of Rentes - annuities
  • a) religion & usury: why did annuities remain so important in Protestant countries?
  • i) continued Protestant hostility to usury
  • ii) thus importance of their usury laws: with lowering of legal maximum rates of interest
  • iii) rentes or annuities were not affected by the legal limits on interest rates
  • b) no government obligation to redeem annuities (as with loans, bonds)  greater freedom for state finances: when to redeem, at what rates
  • c) far lower cost in yields: vs. interest rates on true loans
negotiable public debt rentes 12
Negotiable Public Debt: Rentes 12
  • d) financial contract that became universally negotiable: on Antwerp, Amsterdam, London exchanges (next lectures)
  • - provided most popular form of collateral (beyond land)
  • e) major component of Financial Revolution: in Price Revolution era
  • f) Islamic world:with similar usury prohibitions (to present), why did Muslim states not adopt similar financial contracts? -- not until the Ottoman Empire finally did so in the 18th century.
legal limits on english interest rates
Legal limits on English interest rates
  • 1545 – 1552: legal limit of 10%
  • 1552 - 1571: renewed total prohibition of ‘usury’
  • 1571 – 1624: limit of 10%
  • 1624 – 1651: limit of 8%
  • 1651 - 1713: limit of 6%
  • 1713 – 1854: limit of 5%
  • 1854: Parliament abolished the usury laws (17-18 Victoria, c. 90).
financial revolution historic importance of negotiability 1
Financial Revolution: Historic Importance of Negotiability 1
  • 1) Negotiability: with endorsement & discounting:converted paper credit instruments into a full-fledged medium of exchange radically increased the effective money-supply (not just increasing the income velocity of money)
  • - added to inflation of the Price Revolution (1520 – 1650)
  • 2) Negotiable bills of exchange and bills obligatory:
  • - vitally necessary for financing and expanding international trade
financial revolution historic importance of negotiability 2
Financial Revolution: Historic Importance of Negotiability - 2
  • 3) Rentes (annuities): revolution in public finance
  • a) by providing mechanism for government finance, public borrowing, that escaped all hindrances imposed by the Catholic usury doctrine and also Protestant usury laws
  • b) by promoting development of international capital markets:because rentes were inherently negotiable – since the investor could never reclaim his capital from the issuer (like modern stocks), this form of public finance required secondary markets in public debt
  • c) by providing an optimal form of collateral for private borrowing: in full negotiable, secure, government-backed financial assets:
xi banking finance business organization in early modern europe 1520 1750


B. Dutch Banking and Finance in the 17th & 18th Centuries –

revised 14 March 2012

dutch financial hegemony during 17 th 18 th centuries 1
Dutch Financial Hegemony during 17th & 18th Centuries - 1
  • 1) Historical objectives of this study: to see:
  • a) How the Dutch gained financial supremacy after having gained European commercial supremacy
  • b) How commercial & financial supremacy again involved a symbiotic relationship: in European economic history, all those gaining commercial supremacy later gained financial supremacy: the Italians, South Germans, Dutch, English
dutch financial hegemony during 17 th 18 th centuries 2
Dutch Financial Hegemony during 17th & 18th Centuries - 2
  • c) How the Dutch, after losing supremacy in the carrying trades, found that a shift into finance was easier to achieve than into manufacturing industries (as with English)
  • d) How inherent weaknesses in Dutch financial institutions:finally led to a shift of banking & financial power from Amsterdam to London, by later 18th century:
  • to demonstrate that service-financial economies are far weaker and less stable than industrial economies
dutch financial hegemony during 17 th 18 th centuries 3
Dutch Financial Hegemony during 17th & 18th Centuries - 3
  • 2. The Dutch Acquire Financial Supremacy from Antwerp:
  • a) Revolt of the Netherlands: 1568 – 1609 – 1648
  • i) severely disrupted economy of southern Low Countries (reconquered by Spain)  merchants fled Antwerp for safety of Amsterdam, protected by Zuider Zee and Dutch ships
  • ii) 1576: Spanish Fury: sack of Antwerp by unpaid Spanish troops
  • iii) 1579-81: Union of Utrecht formation of the Republic of the United Provinces (Dutch Republic)
dutch financial hegemony during 17 th 18 th centuries 4
Dutch Financial Hegemony during 17th & 18th Centuries - 4
  • a) Revolt of the Netherlands: 1568 – 1609 – 1648
  • iv) 1583-85: siege & conquest of Antwerp (by Alessandro Farnese, Duke of Parma)
  •  remaining merchants left Antwerp for Amsterdam
  • vi) Truce of 1609: Spain recognized Dutch independence (United Provinces)
  • vii) 1618: Outbreak of the Thirty Years’ War
  • viii) 1621: truce suspended, and 80 Years War continued
  • ix) 1648: Peace of Westphalia (ending 80 and 30 Years’ Wars)
dutch financial hegemony during 17 th 18 th centuries 5
Dutch Financial Hegemony during 17th & 18th Centuries - 5
  • b) Main Features of the Dutch Financial Economy in the 17th century
  • i) the Beurs (Bourse): founded in 1608 (modelled on Antwerp Beurs) as commodity and financial exchange market  stock market for government debt (rentes)
  • ii) Wisselbank: Exchange Bank of Amsterdam, founded in 1609: separate topic
  • iii) Bank van Leening: Lending Bank or Lombard Bank: 1614: for short-term commercial loans
  • iv) Merchant and Acceptance Banking: separate topic
  • c) Did the Dutch introduce financial innovations? NO-
  • - but vastly improved the monetary structure & monetary economy of the Dutch republic
wisselbank van amsterdam 1
Wisselbank van Amsterdam - 1
  • 1) Formation of Wisselbank (Exchange Bank of Amsterdam)
  • a) 1609: founded by city of Amsterdam – modelled on Rialto Bank of Venice (1587)
  • - the first, the greatest, and most powerful public bank in northern Europe
  • b) in turn: model for other northern civic banks:
  • - within the northern Netherlands: Middelburg (1616), Delft (1621), Rotterdam (1635)
  • - elsewhere in northern Europe: Hamburg (1619), Stockholm (1656)
wisselbank van amsterdam 2
Wisselbank van Amsterdam - 2
  • 2) Functions as a Giro or Exchange Bank:
  • a) to regulate money-changing and money supply
  • i) 1609: given a state monopoly on money-changing, with a ban on private deposit banking
  • ii) 1621: monopoly was modified: to permit restoration of private banking
  • b) objective: to eliminate problem of foreign coin circulation and curse of debasements
  • - with continual influx of foreign counterfeits, debased, clipped coins that undermined confidence in coinage, money supply, and commerce
  • - private money changers and deposit banks had often cheated merchants by supplying inferior coinage
wisselbank van amsterdam 3
Wisselbank van Amsterdam - 3
  • c) The Wisselbank florin: bank money
  • - i) All merchants were required to surrender foreign coins to the Wisselbank, which recorded their bullion or precious metal contents in terms of bank florins (1 florin = 20 stuivers): deposited to their accounts
  • - ii) bank florin: represented a virtually fixed amount of fine silver
wisselbank van amsterdam 4
Wisselbank van Amsterdam - 4
  • d) Mercantile Payments via Wisselbank:
  • i) all merchants, domestic & foreign, were required to maintain bank accounts with the Wisselbank
  • ii) merchants normally made payment by bank-account transfers in bank florins
  • iii) for foreign trade, withdrawals permitted in large denomination silver & gold coins: to conduct trade in the Baltic, Levant, Asia
  • iv) Payments in bank florins usually enjoyed a premium or agio over actual silver coins
wisselbank van amsterdam 5
Wisselbank van Amsterdam - 5
  • e) Bills of Exchange (Acceptance Bills) & Wisselbank
  • - all bills of exchange transactions over 600 florins had to be transacted through the Wisselbank
  • - to regulate bills of exchange transactions to prevent fraud
  • - but also to force merchants to maintain Wisselbank accounts
wisselbank van amsterdam 6
Wisselbank van Amsterdam - 6
  • f) the Wisselbank as Bullion dealer:
  • - Wisselbank also had a monopoly on all bullion transactions: to deliver all bullion to the Dutch mints for coinage
  • - merchants not allowed to buy, sell, or export bullion
  • [England: 1663: repealed ban on bullion exports, but retained ban on coin exports]
  • - Wisselbank became world’s leading dealer in bullion: Amsterdam world’s key bullion market
wisselbank van amsterdam 7
Wisselbank van Amsterdam - 7
  • g) A Credit Role for the Wisselbank??
  • i) a Giro bank by law cannot be a credit bank: no loans, discounts
  • ii) increased public confidence by not engaging in lending
  • iii) BUT – from 1683, Wisselbank did extend credit on the collateral of bullion deposits that it held: with interest rate of 0.5%
  • iv) Also direct loans to City of Amsterdam, Estates of Holland, and East India Company: in the form of overdrafts on their bank accounts @ 3.5%
wisselbank van amsterdam 8
Wisselbank van Amsterdam - 8
  • 3) Economic Importance of the Wisselbank:
  • a) ensured stability of coinage & money supply: to expand public & mercantile confidence
  • - by preventing coinage debasements (at mints) and circulation of defective coinage
  • - by regulating bills of exchange transactions: in having all bills transacted at Wisselbank
  • - by providing sound, stable, bank money in form of Wisselbank florins
wisselbank van amsterdam 9
Wisselbank van Amsterdam - 9
  • b) reserved scarce silver for most important needs of Dutch overseas commerce:
  • - Baltic, Levant, Asia
  • - and at very time that European silver supplies were becoming scarcer (from 1660s: as seen before)
  • c) made Amsterdam the commercial, financial, and money-market capitalof the European economy
  • d) but its inability to serve as a credit bank (lender of last resort): source of its downfall
dutch acceptance banking 1
Dutch Acceptance Banking - 1
  • 1) Shift to Bills of Exchange or Acceptance Banking in 18th century:known in Dutch Republic as ‘accept-krediet’ banking
  • a) Amsterdam, as the major commodity exchange market in Europe:
  • i) had developed large groups of brokerage and commission merchants: bringing foreign buyers & sellers together for transactions
dutch acceptance banking 2
Dutch Acceptance Banking - 2
  • ii) such brokers customarily arranged finances and insurance to conduct commercial transactions & seaborne trade: advance credit to foreign merchants.
  • iii) with decline of active carrying trade, they focused on financing international trade, in this manner, even when the actual seaborne trade did not come via Amsterdam
dutch acceptance banking 3
Dutch Acceptance Banking - 3
  • b) acceptance banking: more modern form of bill of exchange:
  • -i) also involve two principals in one city and two agents abroad
  • -ii) principal merchant commands his agent-banker to make payment on his behalf in Amsterdam for purchase of goods elsewhere (Danzig)
  • -iii) but the bill involves a loan not of money but of merchandise: buying grain on credit, via agents abroad for both trade and finance
  • -iv) acceptor-payer: agrees to make payment of the bill, on behalf of his principal to payee merchant
dutch acceptance banking 4
Dutch Acceptance Banking - 4
  • c) acceptance banking and other forms of finance:marked culmination of Dutch economic power in 18th century
  • d) inherent dangers in acceptance banking:
  • -i) extending credit at high risk to merchants who might default or die
  • ii) high risks that ships & cargo be destroyed: with wars, piracies, shipwrecks from ocean storms
  • iii) dangers of excessive speculation and fraud, with unsecured credit
  • iv) dangers from financing growth of commercial rivals -- e.g., England
18 th century financial crises 1
18th Century Financial Crises - 1
  • 1) The Four Financial Crises:
  • a) Crisis of 1763:following Seven Years War between England & France
  • - Dutch had financed both sides, but only one side won (England)
  • - Dutch had issued flood of unsecured bills French defaulted on debts
  • - when financial bubble burst  severe panic  credit contraction  bankruptcies
  • b) Crisis of 1773: Speculation on the Amsterdam Bourse: East India Co shares  severe credit crisis  more bankruptcies
18 th century financial crises 2
18th Century Financial Crises - 2
  • c) Crisis of 1783:warfare: anti-British European coalition of France, Spain, Netherlands, following British defeat in American Revolution
  • - Dutch foolishly surrendered their traditional neutrality and suffered defeat when the British vanquished the European coalition
  • d) Crisis of 1795:when French Revolutionary armies occupied Dutch Republic  set up puppet Republic of Batavia (1795-1806):
  • - shut down the Wisselbank (but formally dissolved only in 1822)
18 th century financial crises 3
18th Century Financial Crises - 3
  • 2) Consequences of the Financial Crises:
  • a) revealed impotence of Wisselbank, which could not function as a credit bank to rescue its clients: could not discount bills
  • b) England: the Bank of England (established 1694): proved to be the opposite: and became a true ‘Lender of Last Resort’
  • i) established as the government’s credit and discount bank
  • ii) in each of the crises, Bank of England intervened with credit to rescue its Dutch clients, while other Dutch financial firms collapsed
18 th century financial crises 4
18th Century Financial Crises - 4
  • iii) That demonstrated the financial superiority of London over Amsterdam  promoted rapid shift of banking & finance to London (as will be seen in next lecture)
  • iv) But London’s financial supremacy from 1770s also a function of its growing commercial superiority
  • v) 1795: French occupation ended Dutch financial role
  • c) Demonstrates inherent instability of service-financial economies over industrial economies